Disclaimer: I unequivocally condemn the actions of Michael Xavier Johnson and I can’t help but wonder if his actual aim was not just to terrorize law enforcement officials but also to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement.
I’m not sure how many people are really tripping about the fact that they used a “robot bomb” to kill a heavily armed suspect after the failure of negotiations instead of snipers or something, but it seems clear that the real controversy among law enforcement officers is whether a tactic that has formerly been reserved for active warfare has a place in day-to-day law enforcement.
Similar to the controversy of using UAVs to kill suspects remotely, I imagine the real concern among civil libertarians especially in the wake of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile is the likelihood that this tactic will be abused and the likelihood that the right to due process will be further abridged.1
When a reporter asked the POTUS about “living in a perpetual state of war” I wasn’t sure if he was asking about fighting terrorists abroad or asking about life in the U.S. with militarized police and a heavily armed populace.2
see also: - ‘Bomb Robot’ Takes Down Dallas Gunman, but Raises Enforcement Questions • 2016 Jul 8 • Henry Fountain and Michael S. Schmidt • New York Times - Use of Dallas ‘bomb robot’ to kill revives police militarization issue • 2016 Jul 8 • Dustin Volz and Isma’il Kushkush • Reuters - Why the Dallas police had explosives, and how those explosives were fatal • 2016 Jul 8 • Philip Bump • Washington Post